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Small Business
by Rose Wheeler | Updated Aug. 5, 2022 – First published on May 18, 2022
Image source: Getty Images
Successfully implementing marketing strategies is both an art and a science, mostly because you’ll have to tailor each marketing method to your business and marketing needs.
While the basic concepts may remain the same, there is room to get creative with effective marketing strategies in 2021.
A marketing strategy is a long-term plan with a quantifiable goal and actionable steps toward raising awareness of a brand or product in the marketplace and securing a competitive edge by appealing to consumers. Essentially, it’s the “how-to” of putting marketing techniques into action.
What to consider when selecting the best marketing strategy for your business
Small and medium-sized businesses especially need to keep a few things in mind when embarking on a marketing plan.
The most crucial part of any marketing implementation plan is its intended audience. After all, it is the consumer’s attention (and wallets) that you want to capture.
You should have a good understanding of the demographics of your core audience: What ages are you targeting? Genders? Income? Interests? Relationships? Stages of life?
You’ll want to consider everything from basic data to the type of social media pages and personalities they are likely to engage with, where they hang out online, shopping habits, and more.
By understanding this and your audience’s journey as a whole, you can best figure out how to get in front of your prospects and engage them with tailored marketing strategies.
Money makes the world go round, and pricing does determine marketing recommendations. There are two types of financials you should consider: your customer price point and your budget for marketing and ad spend.
You will want to create a pricing structure that covers your profit margins but is still attractive to customers and competitive in the market, with business marketing strategies built to match.
You also want to determine your marketing budget. What can you afford for marketing and advertising? Determine your CAC (customer acquisition cost) in addition to any fixed marketing costs, so you can have a monthly budget set up for advertising that still protects your margins.
What exactly do you want out of marketing? The best marketing strategy for, say, building brand awareness is not the same as a strategy for increasing web traffic. It will also be different from campaigns geared toward purchase conversion.
Make sure you are clear on the goal of your company’s marketing strategy.
Here are five strategies that will boost business.
One way to raise traffic and brand recognition is through SEO (search engine optimization) and “befriending the algorithm.” There is a lot of fine-tuning and research involved in SEO (some software platforms will even have automation tools built right in to help). Still, the end goal is always to increase awareness of your brand, thereby increasing website traffic and sales.
Because many search engines, such as Google, prioritize organic and natural search results, improving SEO will go a long way to increasing your brand reach.
Further, the more you improve organic SEO, the better your ad campaigns will work, as they feed off one another. SEO works in tandem with organic search, inbound marketing, and paid advertising.
Focus on particular keywords and make sure you incorporate them into your content. Refresh content regularly, so your site registers as active; this is most easily accomplished via a regular blog.
Use backlinks, headers, and alt image descriptions to elongate the customer journey and talk more efficiently to the search engine AI.
There’s no denying that influencers are the tastemakers of the present and future, and partnering with a few influential social media personalities is a great way to expand your brand awareness.
Collaborations with influencers increase your visibility and raise your brand trust and reputability, as followers already trust the recommendations of personalities they follow and interact with.
Be careful about influencer selection, though. You will want to make sure their community, ideals, and aesthetics align with your brand. You also should keep your collaborations attainable: Don’t go chasing personalities with millions of followers as you likely won’t get an audience with them.
Focusing on micro-influencers with over 10,000 followers is more attainable since you’ll target a niche group that is more receptive to this type of marketing.
Media mentions are a brand’s best friend. Essentially, good press is free advertising, so the more you can get out there, the more your brand awareness grows. You can also combine PR with affiliate marketing to monetize good word-of-mouth.
Free media can come in various ways: from press mentions or reviews, social media testimonials, product roundup lists, blogs, etc. It can’t be bought or coerced. Sending free samples or asking for reviews is a great way to get “free word-of-mouth press.”
Media mentions can then be combined with the often underutilized affiliate marketing. Programs such as ShareASale or SkimLinks pair verified merchants with verified press partners to create in-article links.
If you are, for example, a mask company and you have gotten some media mentions in articles, you can set up links with affiliates to further promote good word-of-mouth.
When someone clicks on a link through an affiliate program to complete a purchase, your publishing affiliate gets a small percentage of the sale, while you get a sale you most likely would not have captured elsewhere.
Email marketing is not only highly effective but can be relatively low-stress thanks to marketing automation. Because it allows for constant touches in a customer’s inbox, it is an inoffensive yet persistent way to nurture and warm leads and promotions.
We recommend creating customer contact lists and funnels based on attributes or triggered functions so that you can send out tweaked but targeted emails to each position along the pipeline.
This technique lets you target your messaging on a more granular level to appeal to various decision-making points. You can track success via open rates, click-through data, and unsubscribe rates, and use split testing to further hone in on effective messaging and subjects.
Social media is the big one and is only going to keep increasing as more brands in 2020 learned to live online. Building an online following on appropriate social channels will cultivate an engaged community and loyal clients, opening up a large arena for pushing sales, promotions, and new releases.
Authenticity is key, as is brand cohesion. Make sure your posts are the right mix of engaging and sales-oriented and tailor your messaging for each platform. For example, focus on visual aesthetics and appropriate hashtags on Instagram, while putting more energy into longer captions and joining groups on Facebook.
The most successful marketing strategies will always vary, not only between businesses but as marketing trends and innovations change too.
There are so many strategies and channels you can implement for marketing, but the biggest success will be found if you can stay agile.
Don’t be afraid to test various waters until you find what works best, and evolve and change as needed.
Rose Wheeler is a content management expert writing for The Ascent and The Motley Fool.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.
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